Black Spiders So where to start with this one. Well the parental advisory message may be both apt and too late but nevertheless anyone of a sensitive disposition should probably look away now. Sometime last year Black Spiders announced they were to be no more. One last gig was planned and that was to be it. The fans clamoured for more and eventually Pete ‘Spider’ Spiby kicked in the door of their collective padded cell and unleashed his Spiders on the UK one last time. An eight date "F*** Off Black Spiders" Final Tour.


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Skinny Lister It’s the second night of Skinny Lister’s headline, sold out UK tour on the back of third album 'The Devil, The Heart & The Fight'. Skinny Lister always seem to be gigging. I have no idea when they find the time to write and record new material but they manage it and the quality never slips. Their third album is glossier and more polished than 'Down On Deptford Broadway' and 'Forge & Flagon' but it still has that distinctive Skinny Lister feel. Punk Shanties I think has to be the accepted Lister genre. Certainly live the new songs get the full on SL treatment.


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Blossoms As a callow youth I thought I was too cool for support bands. That changed sometime in the ‘90s when I discovered that the band I missed out on supporting Inspiral Carpets was a fledgling Oasis, going under the moniker Rain. Now sometimes it just can’t be helped. I was at a wedding yesterday which meant by the time we got to the O2 we’d already missed Rory Wynne. Cabbage have been on my must see list for some time but despite my promises to myself I always keep missing them. I did manage to catch 5 minutes of them once supporting Blossoms at The Leadmill. This time I was determined to catch the full set. Failed..


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Frank Turner Anyone who knows me will know I love a good name drop so let’s get that out of the way first. I was lucky enough to be involved with a live interview with Frank Turner on Sine FM the afternoon of the gig. I mention this not only for shameful name dropping but also because one of the things we touched on was support acts for the tour. Frank hand picks his support acts and they are invariably worth watching.


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Airbourne A lot of long hair, black shirts, and too much leather in the streets could only mean one thing: Rock’n’roll was back in town. Tonight it took the form of the spectacular Aussie hard-rockers Airbourne, who were supported by the equally energetic and powerful Crobot and The Franklys.


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Skinny Lister ut that was when Skinny Lister were the support act… tonight they were headlining and I have to say they pulled it off magnificently. From the rabble rousing voices to the folk-punk sounds and emotions, every member of the audience was mesmerised… either that or they were just waiting for Lorna, their female co-lead singer, to pass round the huge flagon of Rum she was carrying. Yes folks, Skinny Lister don’t just get the audience in the mood with their music they also give them a little nip of Rum to warm the cockles.


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The Icicle Works Early start for this one but Ian McNabb doesn’t mess about when it comes to playing live. The first time I saw him (solo acoustic set) he informed us to phone the babysitter to let them know we’d be late. Tonight the current Icicle Works line up is on stage for 8pm and leave at around 11pm. Even with a 15 minute break that’s serious value for money.


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The Wonder Stuff There’s gigs, there’s great gigs and then there’s gigs when everything is just perfect and lodges itself permanently in your music sodden brain. For the perfect gig certain things have to fall into place, in this writer’s humble opinion. The venue has to be intimate but large enough not to feel claustrophobic. The sound has to be top notch. We’ve all been at gigs where the sound is such a mess that a band can be 2 minutes into a song before you realise you know said song, and know it well. The crowd have to be up for it without being over the top. The bands have to be on fire but more than that they have to be enjoying themselves. A band who look like they don’t want to be there are just no fun at all.


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Public Service Broadcasting Public Service Broadcasting’s debut album Inform-Educate-Entertain (with the emphasis on Entertain) seemed to come out of nowhere to a myriad of excellent reviews. Coupled with live shows that took the whole PSB concept to another level Public Service Broadcasting were obviously ones to watch, although every review seemed to come with the caveat ‘limited shelf life’.


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Seasick Steve Rarely does the O2 in Sheffield get this rammed, but the fact that the bearded enigma from Oakland, California, Steven Gene Wold, AKA Seasick Steve is in town, has meant that tonight it is full, very full.


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Dropkick Murphys The pipes start playing and we’re into Your Spirits Alive. Rock City is already bouncing with bodies flying everywhere before security drag the crowd surfers out, usher them to the side of the pit so they can dive in and start again. Dropkick Murphys are relentless. It’s a full frontal Celtic punk assault and it’s magnificent. A 26 song set picked from the majority of their back catalogue with some spectacular covers thrown in for good measure. (The reggae/Celtic Guns Of Brixton was very special indeed). First of these covers was AC/DC’s T.N.T. As bassist/singer and primary songwriter Ken Casey has stated, ‘I think our goal is to be the AC/DC of Celtic punk rock’.


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Frank Turner Well this promised to be special. Frank Turner’s first gig of 2015, solo, in an intimate venue. This year’s Independent Venue Week ambassador playing in a venue we nearly lost last year, as part of IVW. Perfect.


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Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock Michael Schenker was, and certainly after tonight’s performance, still is, a guitar god in any self-respecting Rock music fans eyes. Starting out in The Scorpions back in the 70’s and then joining UFO later that decade, Schenker supplied the killer riffs that under pinned the very heart of classic songs such as Doctor Doctor, Lights Out, Rock Bottom among many others. He then went on to front a myriad of line-ups of his eponymous band, which again produced fabulous tunes such as Armed and Ready, Into The Arena among many others.


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Rival Sons I had only heard a couple of tracks by the Rival Sons prior to asking to cover this gig and was hoping, as we all do when we build up to something, that they were going to impress. They didn’t disappoint – indeed they surpassed themselves in every way!


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